Having successfully completed a marathon I thought childbirth would be easy. Whilst pregnant, I would recount my adventures. Running up hills being chased by dogs. Strange pains in my skeleton (not sure exactly where). Sitting in lukewarm baths after training crying silently in fear. Bottom ache so bad it hurt to sit down. Marathon was hard!
It was a beautiful April morning and I was armed to the teeth with electrolytes, energy gels, protein bars, immodium, suncream and plasters. My training was complete and I was totally ready.
A couple of years later, it was another beautiful April morning and I was armed to teeth with electrolytes, energy gels, protein bars, lavender massage oil and a complicated playlist. My hypnobirthing training was complete and I was totally ready. Except I wasn’t.
I planned Squeak’s birth the same way I planned my marathon training. Though both were endurance events, I made the mistake of thinking they were the same.
Here is how to level out the two:
- The marathon has no fixed start date. Ideally, it will fall within a five week window, day or night. You’ll be going about your daily business and someone will suddenly shout “GO!”
- You have no idea what terrain you will face, or how long the race will be. It might be an uphill 100 metre sprint on concrete, or a 100 mile cross country. Have fun training for that shit.
- You won’t get thinner, stronger or faster. Instead, add three stone, water retention and clothes which don’t fit. Oh and you can’t remember anything, except you’re pretending you can. Or maybe that’s because you can’t remember what it’s like to remember. Are you feeling confident?
- You’ll get so, so thirsty but won’t be able to drink a drop of water.
- How you do and the decisions you make affect the most precious person you haven’t yet met. No pressure.
Good luck. I salute you.